Friday, 18 December 2020

Why the QAnon Conspiracy Failed Trump

5 facts about the QAnon conspiracy theories | Pew Research Center

As conspiracy theories go, the theory the QAnon is a Trump-supporting conspiracy intended to win him a second term by polarising and dividing America, and one in which Donald Trump is actively involved either directly or indirectly through his staff, is one of the few with any merit.

However, as this Pew Research survey from last November, prior to Trump's defeat in the presidential election, shows, it failed to achieve this to the extent needed to ensure a Trump second term. In fact, because Democrats by and large saw through it and saw QAnon for what it was - a right-wing attempt to fool people into supporting Trump - it could well have hardened their determination to remove Trump from office and replace him with someone with more personal integrity and basic honesty.

About half of Americans say they’ve heard about QAnon conspiracy theories

Less than half of adult Americans had heard of QAnon with the higher percentage (55%) who had heard of it being Democrats or Democrat-leaning. Only 39% of the target group, Republicans and Republican-leaning Americans, had heard of it.

Both these had risen significantly between the periods Feb 18-Mar 2 and Aug 21-Sep 7, however.

Those with high political knowledge are far more likely than others to have heard of QAnon conspiracy theories

And those who had heard of QAnon had a strong tendency to be politically highly aware Democrats at 85% with only 59% of politically highly aware Republicans having heard of it.

QAnon was hitting the wrong target audience and landing on those least likely to fall for the lies and disinformation being spread by it.

A majority of Americans who have heard of the QAnon conspiracy theories say QAnon is bad for the country

Consequently, the majority of those who had heard of the conspiracy theories QAnon was trying to get away with could see them for what they were and concluded that it was QAnon (and whoever was behind it) that was bad for the country, rather than the alleged conspiracies they pretended to be blowing the whistle on.

The result was that the vast majority of those who had heard of QAnon, thought of the stuff that was being pumped out by it, in support of the increasingly desperate Donald Trump, as bad for the country. With only a tiny percentage thinking it was somewhat good or very good for America. Most of those were the already committed Republican Trump supporters. Democrats overwhelmingly failed to be impressed by it.

Most describe QAnon as a ‘conspiracy’ or ‘group’ while some mention ‘right-leaning’ or ‘child trafficking’

Of those who had heard of QAnon, 44% identified it as a conspiracy by a right-wing extremist group that tried to present Donald Trump as some sort of messianic saviour sent to fight child traffickers and a villainous, Satanic political left.

In other words, the vast majority of the people QAnon were reaching recognised it correctly as a loopy conspiracy by political extremists who pedalled biased propaganda. A conspiracy which pedalled unfounded conspiracy theories was itself the sort of harmful conspiracy it purported to be warning people about.

The entire effort was intended to show Donald Trump as some sort of champion of moral values. But all it did was show him to be endorsing lie-pedalling with the intention of foolign Americans for political gain. It is little wonder then that Trump's political rival, Jo Biden, achieved more votes than any other candidate in the history of American democracy and Trump achieved the unique distinction for a presidential candidate of losing the popular vote twice, the second time by an even wider margin that the first.

As of late 2019, most YouTube videos mentioning ‘QAnon’ were created by a small portion of news channels studied

One reason for this failure may be the limited penetration of the conspiracy in the news media. 80% of You Tube videos publisising the QAnon propaganda was produced by just 11% of channels studied by the survey.

But despite this failure to win enough support to get Donald Trump re-elected, nevertheless more than a dozen Republican House and Senate candidates enaged with the conspiracies promulgated by QAnon, either because they themselves had fallen for the rabidly right-wing nonsense being pedalled or because they hoped the voters in their consituencies had. Two of these even managed to get elected.

Nevertheless, those behind QAnon have partly achieved their aim - that of dividing and polarising America, with the help of evangelical Christians, some at least of whom appear to have been fooled by the hoax or willingly adopted it because they thought it would enhance their influence with a re-elected Trump. In doing so, these would-be theocrats have removed themselves to the extreme fringes of American politics, along with the more swivel-eyed, derranged fruitloops now infesting the ranks of a once-great political party.

The other thing those behind QAnon have achieved is revealing to the world which American political party has the most gullible and least well educated followers. As the GOP dwindles in membership as the moderate and reasonably intelligent members leave it, it will move even further out to the lunatic fringe, handing leadership over to the loonies, without any moderating voices to curb their excesses.

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